Dell's Dual Charge Dock successfully combines wireless charging, external display support, extra ports, and remote management features into one compact package. It's an ideal pairing with a Dell laptop, but it can also work with other laptops sporting USB-C or Thunderbolt.
- Eight total ports, including HDMI 2.1 and DP 1.4
- Up to 90W charging power to host
- PXE support, MAC address passthrough
- High-end design and quality build
- Three-year warranty
- Permanently fixed host cable
- No SD or microSD card readers
- More than two monitors requires specialized hardware
Dell currently offers more than 25 different docking solutions within its own branding. They're made to work across Dell's broad suite of laptops, with options for USB-A, USB-C, Thunderbolt, and more. One of the most recent additions is the Dual Charge Dock (HD22Q) that Dell touts as the "world's first laptop docking station with a wireless charging stand" built for phones with Qi charging capabilities. It also boasts eight total ports and some extra features like PXE support, MAC address passthrough, and up to 90W of charging power back to the host laptop. I've been using it in my daily workflow for a couple of weeks to see how successful the mashup really is and, ultimately, whether or not it's worth your money.
Dell Dual Charge Dock: Price, availability, and specs
Dell supplied Windows Central with a review unit of its Dual Charge Dock (HD22Q). It currently costs about $266 at Dell's official website, though it has been enjoying a 30% discount there for some time. The regular price at Dell without the discount is $379.
Connection: USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) DP Alt Mode
Fixed cable (0.8m)
Ports: USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) PD 3.0
Four USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1)
Power: Up to 90W to host
Qi 1.3 (up to 12W fast charge)
Max display res: 4K @ 60Hz
8K @ 30Hz
Dimensions: 4.46 (H) x 3.56 (W) x 4.62 (D) inches
(113.2mm x 90.5mm x 117.35mm)
Weight: 1.48 pounds (0.67kg)
Warranty: 3 years
The dock has also been spotted at third-party retailer Amazon, where it currently costs about $303. Your purchase comes with a fairly generous three-year warranty from Dell, covering exchanges and limited hardware coverage.
The Dell Dual Charge Dock relies on USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) with DisplayPort Alt Mode to connect properly to your laptop. You should be able to get some functionality from the dock with a more basic version of USB-C, though external display support will suffer. If you're spending this much money on a dock, I recommend you have a laptop with the proper host port.
The dock will also work fine with Thunderbolt 3 and Thunderbolt 4 host ports, as both standards support DisplayPort Alt Mode. I primarily tested the dock using laptops with Thunderbolt host ports with no issues.
Dell Dual Charge Dock: What I like
Dell's Dual Charge Dock is unlike any other I've tested, in that it combines a Qi wireless charging portion with the usual glut of ports that these accessories are known for. It's built primarily from what feels like a magnesium alloy, the same stuff that many high-end laptops also use, weighing in at about 1.48 pounds (0.67kg). The bulk of the dock rests behind the vertical charging stand, itself covered in a durable mesh fabric that undoubtedly lowers the chance of your phone (or other accessory equipped with Qi capabilities) getting scratched up when charging. It gives the dock's otherwise austere look a bit of personality as well, something that's welcome in an accessory that you're going to see every day.
The vertical portion has a small lip at the bottom to hold your phone in place, as well as a tiny LED beneath that gives you a charging status. This way you don't need to wake your phone to check that it's still charging properly; it's also ideal for other devices without a screen (like wireless headphones).
The stand leans back just a bit. It's the perfect angle to see any incoming messages or calls during the day. I'm now in the habit of setting my phone down in the morning when I go to work and leaving it there for most of the day. Life gets even easier if you use a device that supports Microsoft's Phone Link feature, which allows you to control everything from your nearby laptop. The Qi charger can run at up to 12W if Fast Charge is supported in your phone.
Three charging coils live inside the stand, allowing for different hardware sizes to nevertheless receive power. It even worked with a set of Apple's AirPods Pro, though I had to set the case on its side for the wireless signal to link up. Not a big deal.
Port selection isn't as impressive as I've seen in other docks, but it's still enough to handle most of my workflow that involves a webcam, keyboard, mouse, and external monitor. The only thing missing that I regularly use is an SD card reader.
The right side of the dock has two USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1) ports with 5Gbps speeds and up to 4.5W of charging power, while the left side has one USB-C 3.2 (Gen 2) port with 10Gbps transfer speeds and up to 15W of charging power for connected accessories. The back side of the dock holds the majority of ports, as well as the AC adapter input and the fixed (non-removable) USB-C host cable. There are two more USB-A 3.2 (Gen 1) ports here, RJ45 Ethernet with Gigabit capabilities, HDMI 2.1, and DisplayPort 1.4.
Because the USB-C port on the side of the dock is reserved for data and charging only, HDMI and DisplayPort are the exclusive external monitor hookups. This means that there's always baseline dual monitor support. Things get a bit trickier beyond that, as you'll need to daisy-chain monitors on the DisplayPort side. These monitors need to be equipped with Multi-Stream Transport (MST) and Display Stream Compression (DSC) support, two features that aren't extremely common.
If you do daisy-chain monitors without DSC, resolution on the DisplayPort side drops down to just 1280x720 at a 60Hz refresh rate. The maximum possible setup with all parameters met is quad QHD displays at 60Hz, or two 4K displays at 60Hz each.
There's a power button on the side of the charging stand that allows for Wake-on-Dock functionality. This essentially allows you to wake up your connected laptop without having to open the lid. This is no doubt a welcome feature if you have a full suite of accessories at your disposal and prefer to leave your laptop off to the side of your desk.
Without the vertical stand, the dock would be a lot like any other compact desktop option out there, offering multiple ports and host charging. But along with the baked-in Qi charging feature, the Dual Charge Dock has a few more goodies to tempt those using modern Dell laptops.
Wake-on-LAN is available if connected to an Ethernet cable, and MAC address passthrough is also possible. Then there's Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) support, wireless vPro, and Kernel Direct Memory Access (DMA). I don't use any of these features, but IT admins managing a fleet of laptops connected to these docks will be able to take advantage. Dell has a full list of its compatible PCs that you can check to see whether your device is listed; many of the best Dell laptops are included.
It should be mentioned that setting the dock up was as easy as plugging in the AC adapter, host laptop, and accessories. I didn't need to install any drivers, though Dell does recommend updating the dock's firmware and your laptop's BIOS, graphics driver, and Ethernet driver. This is no doubt especially important if you're using the PXE, wake on LAN, and MAC address passthrough features.
Dell Dual Charge Dock: What I don't like
One thing that irks me about expensive docking stations is a fixed host cable that cannot be removed on the dock end. While it doesn't stand in the way of transporting the dock — it's meant to live on a desk with reliable AC power — it will cause problems if it becomes damaged. Instead of just being able to use a different USB-C cable to connect to your laptop, chances are you'll have to either replace the entire dock or send it away for repairs.
Port selection isn't too bad here, especially with HDMI 2.1 and DisplayPort 1.4, but I would love to see an SD or microSD card reader included. Having to attach another dongle to the dock for my workflow isn't ideal. More USB-C ports would also be welcome as more accessories change over from USB-A.
A version of the dock with Thunderbolt 4 would also likely be quite popular. Many laptops have already moved on from standard USB-C, and though this dock is compatible with Thunderbolt, you don't get all the same high-performance perks. Faster downstream ports and better display support are two immediate benefits.
Dell Dual Charge Dock: Competition
There are plenty of great docking stations on the market today, and choosing the right one can be difficult. While the Dell Dual Charge Dock has a bunch of extra management features made specifically to work with Dell laptops, it also seems to work fine (in general) with other OEM systems. But keep in mind you are paying for the extra features whether you use them or not.
As an alternative for laptops with Thunderbolt 4, I recommend checking out the CalDigit TS4. As mentioned in my review, it's the "pinnacle of Thunderbolt 4 docking stations" thanks to offering a tremendous amount of ports, 98W charging, multiple display support, and an overall high-quality build. If you have a laptop with Thunderbolt 3, the CalDigit TS3 Plus is almost as good, though it's now getting harder to find.
If you're sticking with USB-C, Plugable's Triple 4K Dock brings more ports (including an SD card reader), more convenient display support for more than two screens, and up to 100W charging. It doesn't boast all the same remote management features, but that's not a big deal if you're buying it for home use.
Finally, HP's Thunderbolt G4 Dock is a great alternative if you're using an HP laptop with Thunderbolt. It has many of the same security and management features, tons of ports, and optional 280W charging for mobile workstations. Otherwise you're looking at 120W.
Should you buy Dell's Dual Charge Dock?
Who it's for ...
- Those with a Dell laptop that can take advantage of all features
- Those who need more ports for accessories, displays, and Ethernet
- Those who like to have their phone nearby and charged at all times
Who it isn't for ...
- Those who want to take full advantage of Thunderbolt
- Those who can't spend about $300 on a docking station
- Those with laptops lacking USB-C with DP Alt Mode
Dell's Dual Charge Dock isn't likely going to leave my desk anytime soon. While I normally alternate between the mighty CalDigit TS3 Plus and CalDigit TS4, using Dell's dock with my XPS 13 has been a smooth experience. I don't need more than two displays and thus don't need any specialized monitors that can properly daisy chain, and the USB-C host cable works perfectly with Thunderbolt. Having my phone propped up next to me at a perfect angle to read messages and alerts — while also charging — is also a luxury I don't want to soon give up.
The dock is built well, it's compact enough that it hardly takes up any desk space, and it can charge my laptop with up to 90W of power. The lack of SD card reader and the fixed host cable are a bit irksome, but nothing I can't deal with.
Pricing is fairly high, and you'd no doubt be able to save some money on a competing dock if you don't need the extra remote management and security features that are baked in for use with Dell laptops. This is, in the end, a dock that's best reserved for Dell laptops, but it will still offer its main features to just about any laptop you connect as long as it has USB-C with DP Alt Mode.
Dell's Dual Charge Dock works best with a Dell laptop, especially if you need to use the built-in remote management features. But it can also handle other PCs, and the Qi charger is a great addition that I want to keep on my desktop for daily use.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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